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The BRAT diet: What to eat after a stomach virus

What should you eat after a stomach virus, vomiting or diarrhea? The BRAT diet can help you refuel and recover after a stomach-related illness like norovirus

What is the BRAT diet?

“The BRAT diet acronym stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast,” says Lena Beal, M.S., RD, LD, a Piedmont therapeutic dietitian. “Historically, it was used in pediatrics when kids got sick and couldn't tolerate anything. But this diet is helpful for anyone who has nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.”

Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast are easy to digest, and eating these foods will help you hold down food. The fiber found in these foods will also help solidify your stool if you have diarrhea.

What to eat after a stomach bug

Doctors recommend giving your stomach a rest for the first six hours after vomiting or diarrhea, Beal says. Drink small amounts of water frequently to avoid dehydration. Later that day, you can progress to clear liquids — anything you can see through and sip.

“Clear liquids include things like water, apple juice, flat soda, Jello, weak tea or broth,” Beal says.

The following day, begin to incorporate foods from the BRAT diet and other bland foods, like crackers, oatmeal, grits or porridge.

By day three, you can re-introduce soft foods, like soft-cooked eggs, sherbet, cooked vegetables, white meat chicken or fruit, says Beal. Avoid using strong seasonings. Fruits and meats should be cooked down so they are soft and easy to consume.

Foods to avoid after a stomach bug

Eating certain foods too soon may upset your stomach and trigger another round of vomiting or diarrhea. Foods to avoid the first three days after a stomach bug include:

Get more nutrition tips from Living Better.

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